I Owe You This One, Blue!

TTBlue hooked me up with Paul Desmond’s Quartet Live 1975 the other day and I have been addicted since. With his incandescent style, whole-range tone, melodic improvisation, and peculiar use of sequence, Desmond blows “cool” alto vibes into his infamous “Take Five” (the replacement of Dave Brubeck’s piano vamp with a guitar isn’t so bad) as well as ballads including “My Funny Valentine” and “Nancy.” The cover of “Manha de Carnaval” is a perfect demonstration of how to personalize a standard. Instead of a straight retelling of the original composition, Desmond and his sidemen (bassist Don Thompson, drummer Jerry Fuller, and guitarist Ed Bickert) restructured the tune with their own imaginative improvisations. Even though the mellowed rhythm section is perfect for late-night relaxation, these men won’t let you sleep until they are done.

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